0538 Hours, 12th November, 2676, USN Ticonderoga, Morril Asteroid FieldMature

The first confirmed contact with enemy forces was made as 4th echelon's tram came to dock outside Drop Bay C-41.
"2nd Echelon Command to Ticonderoga, do you copy?" came the transmission from the Asteroid Field, broadcast through John's Command Frequency transmitter. He neurally activated his helmet's speakers, so his troopers could hear the report.
"2nd Echelon Command, this is Ticonderoga Bridge. we copy. Over"
"Enemy contacts confirmed. we count at least a dozen infantry. Entrenched position. No heavy weapons detected. Recon Squad waiting to engage. Please advise"
"2nd Echelon, green light to engage. Break. Clear out enemy position and secure local area. Over."
"Roger that, Ticonderoga, engaging. Out."
With that, the transmission was cut.

"Confirmed contacts, ladies and gentlemen. The enemy is here", said John, to the troopers assembled in front of him.
"Sir, any details on Taliban equipment? what will we be facing out there?", asked a female trooper from the crowd.
"Fuck knows", replied John honestly, "But rest assured; they will be armed and they will be hostile. We've been given the green light to engage. drop any contacts as soon as i give the order. No consultation with the Ship Master's bridge staff is neccesary."
The tram hit the stoppers at the landing with a resounding thud, and the access bridge extended.
"Troopers, dismount!", ordered John.
The Echelon turned, and began to march off of the tram and up the brighlty-lit walkway.
The Echelon seemed to be swallowed by the cavernous cavity that was the Tramway, Flying buttresses looming above. They continued along the walkway, wide enough to fit ten fully-suited troopers abreast, and up the equally wide stairway to the doors of the Drop Bay. The troopers talked among themselves, about the enemy, about the offensive, and, for some of them, about their first time in combat.
John couldnt help feel apprehensive about the coming operation, a feeling he was sure every trooper in the Echelon also felt. He looked to his left, at Carter, who gave him a kurt nod. He returned it, and looked away. He felt somewhat reassured by the gesture, and tried to think positively about his burden of Echelon Commander.
The ponderous doors opened, and John laid eyes upon the vast machines within the chamber, aranged in rows, supporting the giant dropships as they were loaded with ammunition and fuel.
It was quite a sight.
A sight John was now familiar with.

The End

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